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AIC Seminar Series

Semantic Supercomputing - Natural Language Understanding Beyond Statistics

Francisco[Home Page]

Notice:  Invited by Doug Bercow

Date:  Thursday, July 25th 2019 at 4:00pm

Location:  EK255 (SRI E building)  (Directions)

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In the midst of a global gold rush for AI, a growing number of experts realize that significant parts of the state of the art may need to be revisited. While the amount of data generated grows exponentially, our ability to make sense of it seems to have reached a tangible limit when it comes to mimicking human skills like motion, vision or understanding language. By looking at the brain’s computational mechanisms, it seems that evolution favored “semantic computation” over “algebraic computation” as used in today’s computers. In other words, the human brain processes the meaning of things in the world, whereas a computer program processes the number of things in the world.

The purpose of this talk is to present a concrete approach to systematically reverse-engineer the brain’s mechanisms for computational semantics and implement them in software. By representing natural language data in a way the human brain could actually process, many challenging computer linguistic problems like vocabulary mismatch, ambiguity or polysemy can be elegantly overcome. The Semantic Folding approach, inspired by Jeff Hawkins’ hierarchical temporal memory (HTM) theory, has since its inception in 2011 been translated into many different solutions solving key business challenges in application patterns like semantic search, semantic classification, semantic filtering and, in general, matching of unstructured data.

   Bio for Francisco Webber

Francisco Webber is co-founder and CEO of and inventor of the company’s proprietary Semantic Folding technology. This technology applies the principles of cerebral processing to machine learning and natural language understanding to solve real-world use cases related to big text data. solutions are based on the actual meaning of text, rather than on statistical occurrences. Francisco’s interest in information technology developed during his medical studies, when he was involved in medical data processing. Over the course of two decades, he explored search engine technologies and documentation systems in various contexts but became increasingly frustrated with the limitations of state-of-the-art statistical methods. In 2005 he founded Matrixware Information Services, which developed the first standardized global patent database. In 2007 he set up the Information Retrieval Facility with leading academic expert in information retrieval Professor Keith van Rijsbergen. The Facility aimed at bridging the gap between academia and industry in the field of information retrieval. Francisco recognized that the brain was the only existing reference system when it came to processing natural language. While closely following developments in neuroscience, he formulated his theory of Semantic Folding, which models how the brain represents language data. Additional information: White Paper:

   Note for Visitors to SRI

Photography or broadcast of the event is prohibited unless specifically authorized by SRI. Reporters must coordinate with SRI 24 hours in advance before attending.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes early as you will need to sign in by following instructions by the lobby phone at Building E (or call Wilma Lenz at 650 859 4904, or Eunice Tseng at 650 859 2799). SRI is located at 333 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park. Visitors may park in the parking lots off Fourth Street. Detailed directions to SRI, as well as maps, are available from the Visiting AIC web page. There are two entrances to SRI International located on Ravenswood Ave. Please check the Building E entrance signage.

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